The Night Beat: Moving On From Oil?

Good evening.

YUAN FLOAT: China's decision to allow its currency to rise against the United States will be scrutinized very closely by Obama Administration officials. If it turns out to be meaningful, it will be seen as an important validation of the administration's foreign policy (even though it was surely driven by internal events in China as much as by China's engagement with the United States). It might also provide important economic benefits that could lift the economy and reduce unemployment more quickly. China's move strengthens its hand going into next weekend's G-20 summit in Canada. It comes as the U.S. and Europe pledge to boost savings; all together, the countries can spin it as an effort to stabilize the global economy. Still, details are hard to come by ...

MOVING ON?: The White House hoped Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's appearance on Meet the Press would be seen as a pivot away from the debate about Obama's crisis management. But with four visits to the Gulf and the BP escrow deal on the books, whether the administration can successfully turn to non-BP subjects remains to be seen. The variables: if the administration can begin to contain the oil, people will start to focus on other things as well.

BARTON'S GIFT: The Democrats want to try to flip the political polarity of the oil spill, making Rep. Joe Barton's apology a stand-in for the Republican view on regulation. But since Republicans were so quick to repudiate Barton (he has now, in essence, gone underground), the Dems have not yet been able to do this. ... Sens. Barbara Boxer and Bill Nelson want the President to ask the Navy to coordinate the oil spill response.

RATIGAN, P.I.: MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan will present his investigation of the location of oil plumes and clouds tomorrow. He's been aboard the NOAA ship "Thomas Jefferson." 

WHERE'S THE BUDGET?: On the House side, Republicans will continue to hammer Democrats on not having a budget proposal for the first time in modern history. They have no good political response, and it undercuts their credibility on both spending and jobs. ... Also, since Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has indicated that the military needs action on the troop-funding bill before July 4th, expect a lot of pressure for a "clean" bill. ... The House Judiciary Committee will consider a resolution of inquiry filed by House Republicans on Friday in an effort to force the Justice Department to turn over documents regarding the White House's internal investigation into the job offers made to Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff.

DEBT: In the Senate, Democrats will attempt to figure out how to find a way to clear their tax extenders/stimulus bill, which has been held up over bipartisan concerns about how much it spends and borrows. ... Senate Democrats continue in their effort to move forward with climate change legislation.

DISCLOSE THIS: There will be another attempt to pass some version of the DISCLOSE Act on campaign finance, which is stuck in the House. The bill was withdrawn before the vote last Friday because Democrats did not have enough votes -- a result of revolt by Blue Dogs nervous about opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and by liberals furious about the NRA deal. The Blue Dog anxiety is ironic; they are fearful of huge negative ad campaigns against them, made possible by the Citizens United decision that the bill is designed to ameliorate.

CBC v. CREW: House Democratic leaders hope no one is paying attention to the efforts by Rep. Marcia Fudge and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to water down the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics. Basically, they want to prevent outside groups from having the ability to file complaints with the OCE. The sponsors claim that these complaints generally turn out to be a waste of time and money. Opponents obviously see this as an attempt to insulate members from valid ethics complaints. There's a social penalty for bringing complaints from within the House to OCE attention.


-- The Al Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported that Egypt allowed 11 American warships and one Israeli ship through the Suez canal ... as it allowed an Iranian flotilla to pass through on its way to Gaza.

-- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said she still prefers a civilian as Director of National Intelligence.

-- Reuters notes that a Saudi security official admitted that 25 people who've been through the country's rehabilitation clinic for ex-terrorists have returned to the battlefield in some way.

-- On Tuesday, Nikki Haley and Rep. Gresham Barrett meet in the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial run-off. Barrett has raised more money than Haley, but Haley and is expected to win. (UPDATE: According to June 20 numbers, Barrett has now outraised Haley by $75,000 in the last two weeks.) Barrett's reputation may be tarnished by allegations that he sanctioned attacks against Haley's ethnic heritage.